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Science and technology in primary education
Veel kinderen vinden robots interessant. Dat geldt zeker voor sociale robots, die gemaakt zijn om met mensen te communiceren, en die soms zelfs lijken op mensen. De meeste kinderen weten wel dat zulke robots niet echt leven maar gemaakt en geprogrammeerd zijn. Ze hebben echter vaak nog geen beeld van de kennis en vaardig- heden die hierbij komen kijken. Maken en programmeren zijn technische vaardigheden die in onze samenleving steeds belangrijker worden, maar die niet aangeboren zijn. Je moet moeite doen om ze te leren en toe te passen. Communiceren daarentegen is een vaardigheid waarvoor de meeste mensen bij de geboorte wel aanleg hebben. Het kost de meesten van ons geen moeite om een ander mens aan te kijken en te reageren op een vraag, een blik of een beweging. Je hoeft hiervoor niet naar school. Dit is echter niet voor iedereen vanzelfsprekend. Kinderen en volwassenen met een autismespectrumstoornis (ASS), kunnen moeite hebben met communiceren, of met het ontwikkelen en vertonen van sociaal gepast gedrag. In het onderzoeksproject RoboWijs hebben we daarom onderzoek gedaan naar de vraag of kinderen met een ASS hun sociale vaardigheden kunnen vergroten door middel van coöperatieve lesactiviteiten met een robot die ze zelf moeten programmeren. We hebben hiervoor de lessenserie ‘Samen leren programmeren’ ontwikkeld. Met gebruik van de lessenserie wordt samenwerken gestimuleerd door leerlingen in twee- of drietallen te laten werken aan opdrachten. Bij elke les horen werkbladen en hulpkaarten waarmee leerlingen zoveel mogelijk zelf aan de slag gaan. Wij hebben de lessenserie uitgeprobeerd in scholen voor speciaal basisonderwijs met kinderen die een ASS hebben en voor wie samenwerking daardoor een uitdaging kan zijn. Onze verwachting was dat deze kinderen robotica en programmeren leuk en interessant zouden vinden en dat de opdrachten hen zouden kunnen motiveren om meer en beter samen te werken. Door de opdrachten in de lessenserie niet alleen technisch te maken, maar ook een sociale component mee te geven, hoopten we dat dit de kinderen ook zou helpen met nadenken over sociale situaties en het gedrag dat je in die situaties zou moeten vertonen.
In this study, an educational development approach is investigated aiming at improving reading comprehension outcomes in primary education through inquiry and design-based Science & Technology teaching. The context is societal pressure to increase the likelihood that more students, later in their life, will aspire for careers in technology-intensive professions. However, schools are under more pressure to focus on core subjects, such as language. Integrated Science & Technology and Language education may overcome this problem. In this study, students from Years/Grades 3-6 (9-to 12-year-olds) received an experimental treatment, in which regular reading comprehension lessons were replaced by inquiry and design-based projects with a strong focus on oral language. Before and after, their performance on tests for reading comprehension was measured. No significant differences were found from performance in a control group, who received the regular reading comprehension lessons, but hardly any Science & Technology lessons. In the experimental group, teachers used the Skills Rubric Inquiry and Design and reported that students' skills for inquiry and design improved considerably. Substantial professional support in the form of weekly meetings in a professional learning community was necessary to achieve these goals. Initially, the teachers involved had little knowledge of Science & Technology and low self-efficacy with regard to teaching this subject, but teacher attitude towards teaching Science & Technology improved considerably during the project. It was concluded that integrating Science & Technology and language education is a complicated yet rewarding approach.
The central aim of this dissertation was to investigate integrated curricula as a means for primary education teachers to strengthen (S&T) in their classrooms.
Integrated curricula seem promising for the increase of attention on science and technology in primary education. A clear picture of the advantages and disadvantages of integration efforts could help curriculum innovation. This review has focused on integrated curricula in primary education from 1994 to 2011. The integrated curricula were categorised according to a taxonomy of integration types synthesised from the literature. The characteristics that we deemed important were related to learning outcomes and success/fail factors. A focus group was formed to facilitate the process of analysis and to test tentative conclusions. We concluded that the levels in our taxonomy were linked to (a) student knowledge and skills, the enthusiasm generated among students and teachers, and the teacher commitment that was generated; and (b) the teacher commitment needed, the duration of the innovation effort, the volume and comprehensiveness of required teacher professional development, the necessary teacher support and the effort needed to overcome tensions with standard curricula. Almost all projects were effective in increasing the time spent on science at school. Our model resolves Czerniac's definition problem of integrating curricula in a productive manner, and it forms a practical basis for decision-making by making clear what is needed and what output can be expected when plans are being formulated to implement integrated education.
Technology is more present than ever. Young people are interested in technological products, but their opinions on education and careers in technology are not particularly positive (Johansson in Mathematics, science & technology education report. European Round Table of Industrials, Brussel, 2009). If we want to stimulate students’ attitudes towards technology we need to have a better understanding of the factors which determine attitudes. Different studies (e.g. Volk and Yip in Int J Technol Des Educ 9:57–71, 1999; Jones et al. in Sci Educ 84(2):180–192, 2000; George in Int J Sci Educ 28(6):571–589, 2006; Salminen-Karlsson in Int J Sci Educ 29(8):1019–1033, 2007) have proven that students’ characteristics correlate with their attitudes towards technology. As these studies often focus on effects on a specific aspect of attitude; the total effect cannot be interpreted correctly because attitude is a multi-dimensional concept (Osborne et al. in Int J Sci Educ 23(5):441–467, 2003). This study focuses upon six aspects of attitude namely: interest, career aspirations, boredom, consequences, difficulty and gender issues. Therefore a multivariate model has been set up. This allows us to answer the main research question: What is the predictive power of students’ characteristics with regard to aspects of their attitudes towards technology? The revalidated version of the Pupils Attitude Towards Technology instrument (Ardies et al. in Des Technol Educ 18(1):8–19, 2013) was used in a large (n = 2,973) scale investigation of 12–14 year old students (Grade 1 and Grade 2 of secondary education). Given the multilevel nature of the data and that students are allocated to specific teachers, we analysed the data with a multivariate multilevel approach. The results of the study show a decline in interest in technology from the first to the second grade of secondary education. This finding appears to be stronger for girls. Interest in technology is significantly positively related to the amount of time that technology is taught for, as well as to the teacher. Parents have a positive influence on several aspects of attitude to technology when mothers and/or fathers have a profession related to technology. Equally, the presence of technological toys at home is a significantly positive characteristic. As the results confirmed previous, fragmented studies in related disciplines like science education, this study contributes to the wider body of knowledge concerning students’ attitudes towards technology and how this can be investigated.
Solving technological problems by designing, accomplishing and evaluating solutions is an important objective in primary education. Teachers, however, find it difficult to assess students' abilities for design. This paper describes the Skills Rubric Design: an instrument for formative and summative assessment of these skills. It was developed in an educational design research project and represents the design process in the form of a rubric consisting of five stages and sixteen sub skills. In the rubric, characteristic student behavior indicative of performance with respect to each sub skill is described in detail and in three levels of competence (unsatisfactory, satisfactory, excellent). The instrument was evaluated for validity with design education experts, teacher trainers and teachers in primary education and found useful for assessment and for help in developing design assignments.
Primary schools in many countries are faced with the challenge to prepare children for participation in our highly technological society. Pressure is put upon schools to show more young people the way towards careers in science and engineering, for the sake of the economy. This is contested by scholars who fear a loss of humanisitic values when STEM-related subject come to dominate the curriculum. This paper argues that the empirical design cycle from engineering is a rich pedagogical framework for the attainment of learning objectives from STEM, the humanities and 21st century skills.
Page in a calendar on curiosity
Textbook for Teacher Training on science and technology in primary education